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Difference Between Water Conditioners and Water Softeners

Nov 08, 2023
Difference Between Water Conditioners and Water Softeners

If you’re reading this, there are good chances that you’re considering installing a water treatment system in your home or business. Water conditioners and water softeners are both devices used to improve the quality of water in a residential or commercial setting. But what’s the difference between these two types of water treatment systems? Here at Neighborhood Plumbing, we specialize in water softener installation and water quality testing. In today’s blog post, Neighborhood Plumbing outlines the differences between water conditioners and water softeners. If you’re looking for a professional plumbing service to install an efficient water softener in your home, reach out to Neighborhood Plumbing.

What Is A Water Conditioner?

This is a water treatment device or system used to improve the quality of water in various ways. Unlike a water softener, which is primarily used to remove hardness minerals from water, a water conditioner has a broader purpose, as it is designed to address various water quality issues beyond just hardness. This water treatment system not only changes the chemical makeup of the water, but it also removes chemicals like chlorine from water. A water conditioner is a versatile water treatment solution for areas with multiple water quality concerns.

What Is A Water Softener?

As the name suggests, a water softener removes dissolved calcium and magnesium salts that cause hardness in water through a process known as ion exchange. Water softeners use resin beads charged with sodium or potassium ions to exchange with the calcium and magnesium ions in the water. As a result, the water becomes soft by reducing the hardness minerals. Installing a water softener in your home eliminates scale build-up in appliances and pipes, reduces soap and detergent usage, and reduces dry skin after washing.

How Does A Water Conditioner Differ From A Water Softener?

  • Purpose

Water Conditioner: A water conditioner primarily aims to improve the overall quality of water. It helps reduce issues like unpleasant taste and odor, removes some contaminants, and can prevent scale buildup.

Water Softener: A water softener, on the other hand, specifically focuses on dealing with hard water, which contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Its primary purpose is to remove these minerals to prevent scale buildup in appliances and plumbing.

  • Mechanism

Water Softener: Water softeners use a process called ion exchange. They contain resin beads that attract and trap calcium and magnesium ions in exchange for sodium or potassium ions. This effectively softens the water by removing the minerals responsible for hardness.

Water Conditioner: Water conditioners employ various methods, including physical and chemical processes. They may use filters, magnets, catalytic media, or electronic descaling technologies to alter the properties of the water without necessarily removing calcium and magnesium ions.

  • Water Use

Water Softener: Water softeners consume extra water during the regeneration process when the resin beads are cleaned with a brine solution. This can lead to increased water usage, which is a consideration for areas with water scarcity.

Water Conditioner: Most water conditioners do not use additional water for regeneration, making them more water-efficient compared to water softeners.

  • Contaminants Removed

Water Softener: Water softeners primarily remove calcium and magnesium ions responsible for water hardness. They do not typically remove other contaminants like chlorine, sediment, or microorganisms.

Water Conditioner: Water conditioners can be designed to remove a broader range of contaminants, including some heavy metals, chlorine, odors, and sediments, in addition to addressing hardness.

Professional Water Softener Installation

Choosing the right water treatment system for your home can be overwhelming, but do not worry! Neighborhood Plumbing is here to help. Our reliable plumbers offer professional water softener installation services to both residential and commercial customers. Our team can help you determine the right water treatment solution for your needs.

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